IOWA CITY, Iowa – For now, this is Jim Harbaugh’s strange world and his Big Ten opponents are just trying to live in it.
Even mighty Ohio State for a second consecutive week has to take a back seat to Michigan in my latest Big Ten football power rankings. The Buckeyes defeated Wisconsin 30-23 in overtime this past Saturday in Madison, Wis., but didn’t perform well enough to supplant Michigan, which had a bye week.
Iowa performed well enough in the first half at Purdue this past Saturday to move up one spot from the previous rankings, while Rutgers remains firmly entrenched in the basement, but only lost to Illinois by 17 points this past Saturday after losing to Michigan by 78 points the previous week.
And speaking of losing, defending Big Ten champion Michigan State has lost four games in a row, which nobody saw coming besides Captain Hindsight. You’ll have to scroll way down the rankings to find the Spartans.
1. Michigan (6-0) – The Wolverines were off this past weekend, but I’m hearing they still somehow managed to score another touchdown against Rutgers.
2. (Ohio State (6-0) – You wonder after the Buckeyes fell behind early at Wisconsin this past Saturday if Urban Meyer thought about retiring to be closer with his family?
3. Nebraska (6-0) – With so many key seniors on the current team, Nebraska fans are worried just a little bit about defending the national title that they fully expect the Cornhuskers to win this season by crushing Alabama in the championship game.
4. Wisconsin (4-2) – As part of the fallout for losing to both Ohio State and Michigan, Barry Alvarez has moved Paul Chryst’s bed time up one hour.
5. Northwestern (3-3) – With team morale and confidence on the rise after victories over Michigan State and Iowa, Pat Fitzgerald no longer has to remind his players that they’re more intelligent than the opposing players.
6. Iowa (5-2) – We saw this past Saturday why Iowa’s starters are starters.
7. Penn State (4-2) – It wouldn’t surprise me if the NCAA orders the Big Ten to move Penn State to the West Division to help its chances of winning.
8. Minnesota (4-2) – For the next three weeks, the Gophers get to escape from reality where they are a dull and average team to play Rutgers, Illinois and Purdue in consecutive games.
9. Indiana (3-3) – Kevin Wilson considers his job to be safe because he feels the Hoosiers have shown that they are clearly the best college football team in Indiana.
10. Maryland (4-2) – Okay, now it’s time for Maryland fans to start counting the days until basketball season starts.
11. Illinois 2-4) – Lovie Smith should remind himself that it could be worse. He still could be coaching the Chicago Bears.
12. Michigan State (2-4) – Mark Dantonio can’t use the victory over hapless Notre Dame anymore to inspire his his players, so he reminds them that they also defeated Furman 28-13 in the season opener.
13. Purdue (3-3) – Can we assume that Nick Saban is interested in the Purdue job for some odd reason, but has given Purdue a deadline of Oct. 31, which is the Monday after Alabama’s bye week, to make him an offer since the Purdue administration felt justified in firing Darrell Hazell midway through the season and with a 3-3 record?
14. Rutgers (2-5) – I still would pick the Iowa reserves over Rutgers.